Festival of Immersive Technology comes to Belfast

The inaugural Belfast XR Festival will take place on Wednesday 9 November at the Black Box Theatre as part of Belfast Film Festival. In the first event of its kind to take place in Belfast, the line-up showcases the best of local and international immersive technology content (XR).

The Belfast XR Festival is supported by Future Screens NI and Northern Ireland Screen and is curated by Deepa Mann-Kler. This year’s programme showcases a rich selection of works from creators working at the forefront of emerging technologies, including interactive virtual reality and screen-based installations.

The festival brings together 10 projects from countries across the world (Ireland, Canada, Poland, UK, Germany, and Switzerland). Three projects are from Northern Ireland, and eight have lead artists that identify as women or with mixed-gender production teams.

This year’s programme also shines a light on some of the most urgent social and political issues of our time, with works exploring topics like the climate emergency, loneliness, and estrangement during lockdown.

The festival is also proud to showcase work by the BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Antonin Niclass. In Midnight Story narrated by BAFTA award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes. Also included is Genesis, by German filmmakers Maria and Joerg Courtial, in which 4.7 billion years of evolution are condensed into an intense 24-hour journey.

Other highlights of the festival are:

—  Mental Abuse Matters, a film by Lucy Baxter that utilises virtual reality to capture the visceral experiences of an abusive relationship.
—  Alone Together uses advanced AI, voice recognition and cutting-edge hologram production in which the audience becomes rented family members, procured to help their hosts deal with the challenges of everyday life.
—  Visiting James Simon by Gerda Leopold transports you to Berlin, 1915 and a private tour of renowned art collector James Simon most prized possessions.

Deepa Mann-Kler, Director, Belfast XR Festival said:

“We are thrilled to present the inaugural Belfast XR Festival, featuring projects by creators from all over the world and a strong presence of excellent Northern Irish talent. Belfast XR Festival highlights the enormous diversity and vibrancy of the ever-growing international immersive and expanded realities scene, from high-profile international filmmakers who are experimenting with new technologies, to new works from some of the most exciting emerging talent in the field. This year’s programme considers pertinent issues of our time from a hugely diverse range of perspectives and art forms.”

Professor Paul Moore, Director, Future Screens NI said:

“Future Screens NI is delighted to be supporting the inaugural Belfast XR Festival. It is a critical component in supporting the immersive ecosystem. It is a platform for content creators to share their work publicly and a chance for young people and the public to access high-quality immersive experiences. It is not often that one can stand in both the present and the future at the same moment.”

Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen said:

“We are delighted to support the Belfast XR Festival as part of Belfast Film Festival. This is a fantastic platform for local talent to showcase immersive virtual and augmented projects to the public. This is an exciting time for the interactive sector in Northern Ireland and we welcome continued support in this growing economy.”

The entire Belfast XR Festival can be viewed at https://www.belfastxrfestival.com/programme

Tickets can be purchased on the Belfast Film Festival website.